A prelude to fame, Just Kids recounts the friendship of two young artists--Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe - whose passion fueled their lifelong pursuit of art. In 1967, a chance meeting between two young people led to a romance and a lifelong friendship that would carry each to international success never dreamed of. The backdrop is Brooklyn, ...
A prelude to fame, Just Kids recounts the friendship of two young artists--Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe - whose passion fueled their lifelong pursuit of art. In 1967, a chance meeting between two young people led to a romance and a lifelong friendship that would carry each to international success never dreamed of. The backdrop is Brooklyn, Chelsea Hotel, Max's Kansas City, Scribner's Bookstore, Coney Island, Warhol's Factory and the whole city resplendent. Among their friends, literary lights, musicians and artists such as Harry Smith, Bobby Neuwirth, Allen Ginsberg, Sandy Daley, Sam Shepherd, William Burroughs, etc. It was a heightened time politically and culturally; the art and music worlds exploding and colliding. In the midst of all this two kids made a pact to always care for one another. Scrappy, romantic, committed to making art, they prodded and provided each other with faith and confidence during the hungry years--the days of cous-cous and lettuce soup. Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. Beautifully written, this is a profound portrait of two young artists, often hungry, sated only by art and experience. And an unforgettable portrait of New York, her rich and poor, hustlers and hellions, those who made it and those whose memory lingers near.
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An emotional bond described between soul mates unbroken over time, drugs or gender affiliations. Rare under any circumstance, particularly in NY during those days of heady artistic foment.
Sep 29, 2011
A Revolutionary Remembers
Sometimes it's about being in the right place at the right time and Patti Smith certainly was. Now, all these years later, we get to hear the stories too, and great ones they are.
'Just Kids' is chock-full of wonderful anecdotes about the greats and the unknowns who shaped the New York music and art scene in the 60s, and 70's and whose influences on outsider culture in those days reverberate today in the mainstream.
Unflinchingly honest, and recalled with crystal clarity, Smith's remarkable memoir of this pivotal period in American art is a well-deserved award winner.
Once again, as we move further into the 21st Century, our minds and hearts are stirred by Patti Smith.
May 26, 2011
If the essence of art is simplicity, an expression of feelings and thoughts with no artifice but the clear light of something authentic, "Just Kids" by Patti Smith achieves it, and more. To read it is not to reminisce about days which may have existed only for a very few, but to be drawn into two lives that mattered so much, each to the other, and quickly come to mean as much to us.
May 19, 2011
Not just kids!
They were ahead of their time, they were forever adults throughout their relationship. Great book, in so far, as I was living and attending just about the same places as those two were, Brought back many memories.
Sad demise as far as Robert was concerned!
Dec 2, 2010
I really loved this book. Patti Smith is a superb author!!
Publishers Weekly, 2011-08-29 In her music, Patti Smith transformed rock 'n' roll into a kind of electric poetry, spoken word energized by the jolt and rumble of guitars and drums. It should be no surprise, then, that in narrating her memoir of her intimate friendship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, she turns in a performance that approaches art. Words bob and weave as if set to music, and Smith transforms her prose into a series of entrancing sounds-as interesting for their rhythms as their meaning. Using shifts in cadence and pregnant pauses, she allows silence to convey as much as words. Even phrases that clanged on the page sound perfect when Smith reads them herself. She writes of her youth and young womanhood, and something of those long-gone days emerges in the tone of her voice. The listener can hear traces of Smith's New Jersey roots in her occasionally dropped r's and long, flat vowels. An Ecco paperback. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly, 2009-12-07 In 1967, 21-year-old singer-song writer Smith, determined to make art her life and dissatisfied with the lack of opportunities in Philadelphia to live this life, left her family behind for a new life in Brooklyn. When she discovered that the friends with whom she was to have lived had moved, she soon found herself homeless, jobless, and hungry. Through a series of events, she met a young man named Robert Mapplethorpe who changed her life-and in her typically lyrical and poignant manner Smith describes the start of a romance and lifelong friendship with this man: "It was the summer Coltrane died. Flower children raised their arms... and Jimi Hendrix set his guitar in flames in Monterey. It was the summer of Elvira Madigan, and the summer of love...." This beautifully crafted love letter to her friend (who died in 1989) functions as a memento mori of a relationship fueled by a passion for art and writing. Smith transports readers to what seemed like halcyon days for art and artists in New York as she shares tales of the denizens of Max's Kansas City, the Hotel Chelsea, Scribner's, Brentano's, and Strand bookstores. In the lobby of the Chelsea, where she and Mapplethorpe lived for many years, she got to know William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Johnny Winter. Most affecting in this tender and tough memoir, however, is her deep love for Mapplethorpe and her abiding belief in his genius. Smith's elegant eulogy helps to explain the chaos and the creativity so embedded in that earlier time and in Mapplethorpe's life and work. (Jan.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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